“Sustainable inclusion is not successful overnight and requires patience and intentional development of the right conditions in the workplace”
Lamé and I explore how to leverage inclusion to create sustainable transformation in the way organisations approach the topic of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Developing women and pioneering D&I along the entire industry value chain requires inclusive environments and unconscious bias training that goes as far as conscious inclusion, i.e. taking action in how we address the lack of inclusion in organisations. The traditional bottom line of shareholders’ value has now been joined by an organisation’s attitude towards people and community and creating more inclusive working environments is key to future growth and sustainable transformation of workplaces, organisational culture and of ways of working.
Lamé shares her experience, thoughts and recommendations from working on this topic with businesses and communities across the globe.
The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :
· To develop women and pioneer D&I along the entire industry value chain requires inclusive environments and unconscious bias training that goes as far as conscious inclusion, i.e. taking action in how we address the lack of inclusion in organisations.
· Organisations must fundamentally change their approach; it may be uncomfortable and painful, but the decision must come from the top to inspire a new culture – the environment will cleanse itself as those who don’t like it will leave.
· They must move from reflection/intention to action, police the system for inherent bias and introduce equitable performance management – leadership with kindness and empathy creates an inclusive workforce by walking in peoples’ shoes: ‘if you build it, they will come.’
· There is a link between gender parity and sustainability: females represent 50% of the population and the right people must have input into decisions for the future otherwise we are only solving half the problem for half the population.
· Recruitment must be mindful and intentional with transparent opportunities for all, and leaders must influence their spaces by giving everyone a voice, inviting people into the conversation and role modelling a new way of working.
· The traditional bottom line of shareholders’ value has now been joined by an organisation’s attitude towards people and community – the S in ESG (environmental, social and governance) is becoming more amplified to take account of geopolitical challenges.
· UN sustainable development goal #8 calls on societies and economies to create programmes to provide access rather than hiring for qualification: we must open the door wider to give access to more people and signpost opportunities.
· Non-profit organisations rely on partnership and collaboration to unlock access to a wider pool of people, empower women, support leaders to lead women, create inclusive teams and amplify the messaging of not leaving women behind; we must create a network effect and leverage that to accelerate the pace of change.
· Once we have created democratised access, how do we measure inclusion and inclusive growth? In terms of a happier workforce, lower staff attrition, better customer service and ultimately more business; positive feedback is good for branding and brings about transformation.
· Leaders must design the culture of the future, be credible and build trust. We must all seek to call out bad behaviour but we need psychological safety to do so; we must nip things in the bud to prevent a toxic work environment.
· The Gemba walk involves hearing and listening to people, creating diversity of thought and being aware of cultural differences; this should be at business unit level rather than corporate level because of localised differences: think global and act local.
· Organisations must have the correct and clear intention for every person, from top to bottom, to create a conducive environment for all – this allows everyone to connect to the company purpose and, despite different individual agendas, all are aligned.
· Sustainable inclusion is not successful overnight and requires patience: organisations must recognise that they could get it wrong and make mistakes, but failure is not a bad thing and failing fast is a building block for growth. They should choose one change and implement it consistently. Once it becomes a habit, they should then choose another.
· We must support each other and share as we learn along the way, look out for development opportunities and create value for empowerment.